With the win against the Spurs in hand and Derrick White comfortably resting on the bench, San Antonio’s Frost Bank Center started chanting for one of their homegrown players to rep the Celtics at the mid-season classic in Indianapolis in February.
“WHITE’S AN ALL-STAR! (clap clap clapclapclap) WHITE’S AN ALL-STAR! (clap clap clapclapclap)...”
Crowd in San Antonio chanting “White’s an All-Star” and Celtics bench all got into for Derrick. pic.twitter.com/sZHkrtTVMB— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) January 1, 2024
“It’s always going to be special coming back to San Antonio. This is where I started. So many great memories and times here, on the court and off the court,” White said after scoring 17 points and dishing out five assists. “Every time I come back here, it’s going to be special. The fans today were unreal. The Boston fans here are crazy.”
After arguably his best season of his young career and clutch play after clutch play in Boston’s 12-2 stretch in December including huge three-pointers against the Pistons and Raptors in their most recent homestand, the legend and myth of Derrick White has grown into a modest All-Star campaign.
“I’m just thankful and grateful. I just try and go out there and help us win. I think if I was to make an All-Star Game, it’s because of how much we’re winning and the type of team we have. I’m just thankful to be part of this team and this organization and the culture we’re building here. Me making it or not making it doesn’t change the fact that I’m thankful to be here.”
This season, White is averaging a cool 17 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, but counting stats don’t nearly tell the entire story. He’s equally nearly a mistake-free point guard and does all the little things. White hasn’t always been this player though. Drafted 29th in the 2017 NBA Draft by Gregg Popovich, the unassuming White still had more road to travel.
“He just kept pushing me. He saw something in me that I didn’t see myself,” White said of his first head coach, the legendary Gregg Popovich. “Obviously, in my first year, I was in the G League which allowed me to figure out the NBA game. From there, he continued to push me and add that confidence. I used to be in the weight room and he’d walk past me and just say, ‘you belong,’ and walk out. Just little things like that are cool to hear from the greatest coach of all time.”
Last February, White was traded to the Celtics for Romeo Langford, Josh Richardson, and two first round draft picks. What might have been a considered quite a haul for the Spurs two years ago looks like a steal in White’s second full season in Boston.
We’re thankful and grateful too, DWhite.